My Bug-out Plans

In this part of my Practical Survivalist series, I’ll share a few of my bug-out plans. Yes, I have more than one plan. I think it’s important to have multiple plans because you may be faced with different types of situations and need to have a general idea of what you need to do when faced with each scenario. However, you should be prepared to alter your plans as the situation demands. As Helmuth von Moltke the Elder once said, “No plan survives contact with the enemy.”[1]

Please notice that my plans are specifically tailored to my current living situation, and a family of one spouse and no children. These plans may not specifically apply to a situation you may face with your family. These plans should be used as examples only, and modified to suit your needs.

Plan #1: Primary Plan

If my boyfriend and I are both at home, if/when the alert happens[2] I’ll grab my bug-out bag and some other essentials (like a bicycle), and then run to the car[3]. While I’m doing that, my boyfriend needs to get our pets ready to travel, and grab any essentials he needs. That includes:

  1. Collect any personal essentials he can’t live without for years to come.
  2. Put the leash on the dog and lock him in his carrier.
  3. Try to corral the bird into his carrier.
  4. Grab as much pet food as he can carry.
  5. Take everything he can carry down the stairs to the first floor or the car.

This needs to be done in less than 5 minutes.

When he runs out with the pets, I will run back inside for more supplies that I may have forgotten. I’ll tell him to stay with the car because it needs to remain running and we can’t risk turning it off[4], nor can we afford to have it stolen. 

I’ll take the stairs back up and grab whatever he packed or left, along with any last-minute items I think will be useful.

By the time I get the car pulled up to the front of our home, my boyfriend should have everything downstairs and ready to be loaded. If he isn’t downstairs, I’ll have to wait for him at the car because we can’t leave it unattended. If I’m stuck waiting for too long, then as a last resort, I’ll turn off and lock the car. I’ll take the stairs up to find out what the fuck is taking so damn long, and help solve any problems he’s facing.

If the problem is an unruly pet, we may have to leave it behind… Remember, this is a survival situation and every minute it takes for us to evacuate, reduces our chances of survival.

When we’ve loaded the car, we’ll drive as fast as possible away from the city and hope we have enough time to get out of the blast radius[5]. Or, hope the car can get us as close to our new home as possible before it breaks down (EMP) or runs out of gas.

Once we reach our destination, we’ll unpack the car and stash everything into our new permanent home. The new reality will not have registered on any of our neighbors yet, so we’ll take this opportunity to drive out and get whatever supplies we can while it’s still relatively safe.

If the car becomes disabled during this plan, we will salvage as much as possible and walk the rest of the way. This contingency will be similar to Plan #2-A, which is the next section.

Plan #2-A: EMP with Family

What if there’s an EMP and the car doesn’t start. If an EMP occurs and we aren’t a charred cinder, then it’s possible that was the attack. If so, it’s possible we don’t have to worry about nukes raining down from the sky[6]. Hopefully, that means we have more time to bug out since we no longer have a working car. Let’s hope, but never assume this, and remember that…

We need to leave the city as soon as humanly possible!

Similar to my core plan, we need to grab all supplies that are portable and load them onto bicycles. We probably won’t be able to take everything we want, but we can use the handlebars (and any mounted racks) to hold what supplies we can manage. Hopefully, the tires haven’t dry-rotted and the tires are good to go, because that means we have an easy and silent way out of the city.

If we’re unfortunate and the tires don’t hold pressure, we’ll have to use them in a different way… as carts. We can distribute the weight of our supplies and pets onto the bikes. Using the bicycles as make-shift carts will help us travel on foot further and faster, all while staving off exhaustion just a little bit longer. 

Let’s not kid ourselves. On a trip as far as 80-100 miles, you will get: tired, worn out, and probably bruised or blistered. To combat that inevitable exhaustion, I plan to use every chemical advantage at my disposal during this journey. That means we will use pain killers to suppress any soreness, and “other prescription drugs” to ward off exhaustion[7]

Wait! I have a question.

How are we going to ride a bicycle with a dog in a carrier? Alternately, how are we going to hold onto a pet with one hand while riding an over-encumbered bike?

We aren’t. If we’re riding the bikes, we must be able to balance. The bird’s carrier can be used as a backpack, so that part is easy. However, the dog’s carrier is too bulky. We’ll have to put a leash on the dog and feed him a Benadryl, before sealing him into a backpack. This may sound inhumane, but it’s the best option available to us[8]. I will carry the dog because I can’t trust the boyfriend’s bleeding heart to not cause unnecessary delays.

Hopefully, the Benadryl will force the dog to take a nap in the bag.

Plan #2-B: No Car, No Family

This plan is similar to Plan #2-A. If I’m alone in the city and the car either isn’t here or doesn’t work, I will try to follow the primary plan in combination with “Plan #2-A”.

Since I’m alone, I will need to be more conservative with my loadout. If the dog is with me, he’s getting put in a bag (like the previous plan). I should be able to handle the bird carrier on my back, but if he’s too stubborn to get in his carrier, he may get left behind. 

I know it’s horrible to leave a family member, but this is a survival situation and every minute wasted means your chances of survival drop.

If my bike’s tires don’t air up, I’ll try the other bike we own. If neither hold pressure, then I’ll use the most useful bike as a cart and walk to our new home[9]. That bike will likely be mine, because it’s a hybrid road/dirt bike and the tires are easy to find in most stores.

Or the remains of those stores.

Regardless of the bike-situation, I will follow the same escape route.

Aided as such, I should be able to reach the bugout location in about 18 hours using the bike as a cart. The time may lessen greatly if I can ride it, or increase depending on road conditions or potential robbery of the bicycle itself.

If the bike survives the journey, then my family can use it while travelling to market or patrolling the neighborhood.


[1] Moltke Quote: This quote is almost certainly simplified from the original German quote.

[2] Alert: I’m not fully confident that we can rely on an alert to warn us of an incoming attack. Our government will probably react to an incoming threat at a snail’s pace, because most government officials want to avoid political backlash if a threat turns out to be a false alarm. Remember the false alarm that happened in Hawaii in 2018?

[3] Leaving Home: If you live in a building that has an elevator, don’t use that elevator when bugging out because you may get stuck inside (and help may never arrive).

[4] Leave it Running: According to a few articles I’ve come across, it’s possible that the car will remain operational if it’s running when an EMP happens. Alternately, it may have been a fluke that the car started and we don’t want to smack lady luck in the face when things work our way.

[5] Speeding: Again, I do not condone breaking the law… but if nukes are flying, do you honestly think the police are going to chase you down when their own families are at stake. And, if they do chase you, do you think any community will find you guilty for simply trying to save your family… given the “new reality”.

Heck, that community may lynch the officer for such a wasteful expenditure of resources.

[6] EMP as the Attack: I’m a big fan of the Fallout Franchise, but I’ve got to admit that I’m more worried about an EMP attack than a full-scale nuclear exchange.

[7] Blitz: Just like the Nazis of World War II, we’ll use “medicine alternatively” to get to our new home without stopping.

[8] Doggy Bag: I know there are bags designed to hold dogs and other small pets. Some even allow the dog to stick its hear out to enjoy the breeze. There are two things which don’t make this a possibility:

  1. I know our dog and getting him into one of those breezy carriers will either take forever, or he’ll fight us tooth and nail (literally, because he’s a dog).
  2. We are maxed out on storage and storing another carrier in our home is not possible.

And frankly, at least I’m making an effort to save every single member of the family, human or otherwise. A lot of families will just abandon their pets because transporting them is too hard.

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